As women, is our proclivity to hate on other women conditioned by the sexist society we’ve grown up in, or does it run deeper than that?
You know that one actress whom all the guys are drooling over — and you don’t get it? In your mind, she’s not even pretty — “Her eyes are too close together.” You feel like she’s barely talented — “She was handed that Oscar because she’s so-and-so’s daughter.” You think she seems pretty dim — “She misused a word once in an interview.” And every time you see her in the news, you just want to roll your eyes?
Or maybe there was a girl at school whom every single guy wanted to date and every teacher loved, for no real reason at all in your mind, and you could physically feel a twinge of jealousy every time someone said her name?
It’s safe to say that, as women, we’ve all found ourselves jealous of another woman — whether it be that she possesses physical features we feel we lack, attention from countless suitors, or success in her career. Unfortunate and petty as it may be, most of us are guilty of being the “She’s not that pretty/talented/smart” girl at times.
Are Women Made To Hate Each Other?
Why have we all been that girl? Why is it that women feel the need to tear our fellow females down? Our culture might have us come to the conclusion that women have been made to hate on one another by a sexist society that pits women against each other — a society that regulates women to wear makeup every day lest we be shamed, be born with a certain cup size or go under the knife to get it, fight for the affection of the cutest guy, and claw our way to the top of a career that leaves room for very few women.
But is this the case? Should we place blame upon the supposedly misogynistic men running our society for women’s rampant hatred of one another, or is it our own fault?
It’s Not Society’s Fault That Women Hate Each Other
It’s easy to say women are conditioned to put other women down solely by men and a big, evil, woman-hating society, but I don’t think that’s the truth, simply because we’re not forced to do anything. Our hatred of other women can easily boil down to our own insecurities: we might see another woman with something we want, be it success, youth, intense beauty, male attention, or a seemingly perfect life. And understanding that we are not in possession of something she has will naturally make us jealous. When we compare, we want to be the ones who come out on top.
But our tendency towards jealousy and insecurity isn’t exactly something we can pin on the big, bad wolf of society. While there’s no doubt that we’re influenced by societal standards of female beauty, there comes a point where we need to take responsibility for our feelings. We can choose to be okay with someone having something we just don’t. We can decide it’s not the end of the world if another girl lucked out in the looks department. We can resolve to commit ourselves to become a healthier, happier woman.
I could list off 20 things I’d change about myself in order to have what other women already have. And I’ve found myself hating on women who would be seen as more beautiful, funny, likeable, or accomplished than I am. But in reality, it’s not society’s fault. It’s mine.
I have a lot of insecurities, and for so long, I haven’t known what to do with them. But I’ve realized it’s up to me to figure out how to grow past these feelings, instead of finding ways to lay blame on men and society and continue feeding into a jealousy of other women that’s only kept me from forming close, life-giving female friendships and growing into a wiser woman.